Kinstellar launches ninth office with Kiev team

Central & Eastern European (CEE) firm Kinstellar has opened its ninth office, launching in the Ukrainian capital Kiev with the hire of a former partner of local firm Avellum.

Kostiantyn Likarchuk was a partner at Avellum from the firm’s launch in 2009 until May last year. He left to become deputy head of the country’s state fiscal service, a position which he held until September 2015.

Likarchuk joins Kinstellar with a launch team of seven associates from Avellum and Baker & McKenzie.

He said the firm was keen to expand the Ukraine team over the next couple of years to around 20 people, including more partners.

In addition to his corporate practice, Likarchuk will also coordinate a cross-border disputes team to work alongside Kinstellar’s other offices and grow capabilities including international arbitration.

The office opening continues Kinstellar’s expansion across the region. The firm launched in 2008 when Linklaters spun off its CEE practice, and now works alongside a host of independent and international firms on transactions and disputes.

The firm’s most recent opening was in Bulgaria in 2014 when it appointed Wolf Theiss senior associate Diana Dimova as a corporate partner in Sofia along with another 10 lawyers.

The Kiev market has undergone considerable change in the three years since Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula. German firms Beiten Burkhardt and Noerr, US firm Chadbourne & Parke and Clifford Chance have all pulled out with their teams either joining other firms or setting up as independent outfits.

However a handful of independent firms have moved in. Last October French firm Jeantet Associés took Gide Loyrette Nouel’s Ukraine team to launch an office in Kiev, and in 2013 Scandinavian firm Magnusson opened in the city.

International firms Baker & McKenzie, Dentons and DLA Piper retain their own Ukrainian offices.